Working for hours in the gym and doing countless crunches, but still struggling to shed fat? Or after a recent weight loss, experiencing slow accumulation of fat? Well, the possibility is that your bad habits are undermining your efforts and stopping you from achieving your fitness goals. Although, you might be keeping a firm eye on the size of portions, but might have failed to keep the plate size under control.
Also, there is a possibility that you had deemed a particular food item healthy, based on partial information only and in reality, it can be as unhealthy as a slice of cheesecake. Read on, to learn about some unhealthy habits that are holding you back from achieving your health goals.
Not aware of how many calories you are consuming
In a survey funded by the International Food Information Council Foundation, it was found that around 63% of participants couldn’t accurately tell how many calories they were consuming on a daily basis. In fact, around 25% couldn’t even venture a guess and only 12% could actually tell the number of calories they were consuming on a day to day basis. It is very important to know the number of calories you are consuming because it shouldn’t be too much more than the calories you are burning daily. Otherwise, you would put on weight. The daily calorie requirement varies from individual to individual. A petite woman with low physical activity needs to consume around 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day. Whereas, highly trained athlete would have to consume 4,000 calories per day to ensure best performance.
Other interesting information revealed in the survey includes the fact that around 54% of the participants were trying to lose weight, whereas only 4% were trying to gain. And, about 70% of the subjects were concerned about their weight.
Using Bigger Plates
Ok, you have been careful about the portions, but still gaining weight? The problem is the size of your dishware. The illusion created by the size of the serving dishware can easily cause confusion about the portions and could lead to consuming more calories than you were planning to. The larger plates can make the serving of food appear smaller, whereas the smaller ones can lead you to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger. This very fact has been proved in a study conducted at a health and fitness camp. The study found that campers who were given larger bowls served and consumed 16% more cereal than those given smaller bowls. And, despite, eating more cereal, the subject’s average estimate of their cereal consumption were 7% lower than the estimates of the group eating from the smaller bowls. So, the large plates not only trick you in eating larger portions, it also fools you into believing that you have eaten less.
You can use this knowledge of dinnerware size for your benefit. For example, serve healthy foods such as salads in bigger plates to encourage consumption. And, serve unhealthy sweet food items in smaller plates, which will trick your sweet tooth into feeling satisfied with less.
Grocery Shopping Without List
Spontaneous shopping opens you up to the temptation of going for unhealthy food items. If you don’t have a list prepared, then the overwhelming chances are that you will fall for the marketing tactics used by processed food industry. And, surely what you purchase is what you eat. And, couple of unhealthy and fattening food items are enough to make a mess of your dieting and weight loss plan. When you create a shopping list, you psychologically reaffirm that you are committed to weight loss. The best strategy for grocery shopping is to go for it on weekends. You will have time to plan and create the list according to what you need in the coming weeks and you won’t be rushed to buy anything unhealthy as a quick fix.
No Eating Plan
You know most dieting or weight loss plans fail due to the lack of eating plan. These days everyone is super busy and in a hurry, so in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often fail to prepare our daily meal and as a result, have to turn to fast food or other unhealthy options. However, this problem can be easily avoided by planning ahead. After doing your grocery shopping, plan your eating schedule on Sunday itself. You can prepare snacks and meals for the coming week and portion them out in your refrigerator in containers. You can hard boil eggs and save them for quick snacks. You can even carry one or two with you, so in case you are hungry, you won’t eat unhealthy snacks. Another excellent option is that you can make homemade protein bars and store them in refrigerator for use throughout the week. And, protein bars are very easy to make. Just bake bars of rolled oats, soya flakes, honey and dry fruit.
Eating Out Too Often
Eating out is great. You get to enjoy the company you are in, without worrying about preparing the food. It is extremely convenient and saves time as well as effort. Also, you get an opportunity to relax and chill. However, there is one problem with eating out and that is, it makes you fat. So, if you are eating out once in a while, it is fine. However, in case, you love to sample the food at local joints quite regularly, then it is a bad news for your weight loss program. The restaurants and food joints aren’t concerned about your weight and health. Their goal is to ensure that you come back and that can only be achieved by serving rich and delicious food. And, the best and easiest way to bring texture and flavor to the food is by adding fat. The fat in all forms. Oil, butter, lard and cream. Even, the supposed healthy salads are loaded with lots of calories.
The best way to keep calories under control is to cook your own food. By doing so, you always get a clear idea of the calories contained in the food. And, if you do have to eat out, then make sure you are ordering the healthiest item on the menu.
Multitasking While Eating
The modern hectic lifestyle encourages multitasking. Do more in less time. Due to this, people have gotten in habit to do other things while eating food, after all, how much attention eating food could require. So, people often tend to text, chat, tweet and watch TV after eating. It is supposed to be productive. However, it is a very bad habit that could lead to eating more food than you were hungry for. According to a research published in February 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the distracted eating could lead to consuming up to 50 percent more calories. The scientific reason for this is that the mind is too preoccupied with other things to register whether the stomach has been filled up or not.
So, to ensure that you don’t overeat, aim to enjoy your food. Do nothing else, just enjoy your food. If this is too big a change for you, then start with one meal per day. Keep your iPad and smartphone away.
Consuming Liquid Calories
Another common mistake made by those looking to shed weight is that though, they keep a strict eye on the calories consumed from food items, but they fail to count liquid calories. In fact, the calorie rich beverages are liable to make you fat more quickly than the calories in food items. The food keeps you full for longer time, but the beverages have no such benefits. So, you are consuming lots of calories without having any apparent impact on your hunger. Be double careful about the diet sodas being sold around as health friendly drinks. And, the processed fruit juices that are being sold around as the answer to the nutrients deficit are equally bad. The antioxidant elements and major nutrients are destroyed or altered by the heating and pasteurization process. So, what remains is a sugary beverage with loads of calories.
Night Time Snacking
Although, recently some experts have argued that night time snacking has no particular effect on your weight gain, but the traditional knowledge and studies support the fact that the night time calories are more likely to make you fat. This is dictated by several different factors. First of all, if you are snacking at night, the chances are that you would be eating something unhealthy. At midnight, you won’t be cooking chicken or tossing around a healthy salad. So, the calories from ice-cream and chips would undoubtedly settle on the hips, thighs and waist. Another thing is that the high sugar and high carb would spike the sugar level in your blood. Ideally, this would give your body a steady supply of energy for physical activity. However, as you won’t be doing anything other than lying on the bed, the excess calories and energy will only be stored as fat.